YOU know you are alive. My lord, you know you are alive.
Isn’t that the point? It is, but you felt that maybe a bit too much.
It shouldn’t have been this way. Eight minutes in, James Milner goes on a charging run from back to front, and you think Liverpool Football Club are going to command this game. For the first 14 minutes, we have total possession of the football game, edging inch by inch towards the goal. Side by side, piece by piece, we keep the pressure on.
Liverpool look cool. Liverpool are top.
And then. And then.
A freekick at the half-hour mark breaks the ice. Shortly after, Wilfried Zaha — a special player, by any measure — breaks Milner’s wall and Townsend slices one past Liverpool’s goalkeeper.
And from a team that was all in control and all on top of the pressure, chaos breaks out. A fixture that could always be straightforward but somehow never ever, ever is turns out to be pure madness once again. This could well have been the sixth most difficult game of our remaining 16. It became that before our very eyes.
Right at the point they score, we look strong at the front and OK at the back, and you would absolutely be forgiven for thinking that this game is going to end 2-1. If someone had said to me at half time, hey, this is going to end 4-3 with a sending off, I would have told them to do one. We don’t do that sort of thing anymore. This is Jürgen’s machine.
Crystal Palace are a well-drilled team. They look like plastic figurines on a table football set, such is the constant shape they hold especially that back four. The centre halves are terrific, van Aanholt tidy, Wan-Bissaka the business.
Palace look like a team that can control themselves against sides much, much better than them. They know what they are about. The Reds this season have been pure efficiency. At half time, this doesn’t look like a game that is going to go wild with goals and mishapen defences.
But here is how it happens.
Half time comes at the right time, and resets the agenda. Bang. 46th minute, Liverpool take their chance at last and last year’s golden boot winner shows that any thought that he is only going to win that for one season can be dispensed with. He should be box seat given Kane’s absence.
Bang. At 53, Bobby Firmino does likewise and it is 2-1. Liverpool supreme, roared on. Anfield ablaze. It helps Speroni suddenly looks his age.
These two goalscorers look great. They look like a pair today. They are everywhere, everywhere on the pitch. They are our everything. The greatest thing you have ever seen.
This is maybe how things should end. Maybe if Joe Gomez was on the pitch, events might have stopped there. Maybe if Dejan Lovren was on the pitch. Maybe Trent.
But they weren’t, and my god, it didn’t end there. Here’s the scene.
Palace go berserk. Their lads put Liverpool on the rack for five, punctuated with the exclamation mark of the Tomkins header. Wilf Zaha is a torrent. He’s almost unplayable.
After Salah puts Liverpool ahead again at the 75th, you think that must surely be that and the thing should finish 3-2.
The goals have come thick and fast, with the ball hitting the back of the net every 10 minutes or so. But what is really mad is how the strength of Liverpool’s possession and the firmness of Palace’s shape collapses into a game where Bobby Firmino ends up covering at the back, Mo Salah hacking clear and the unflappable Virgil van Dijk is running into the goalmouth.
Milner flies in at an acute angle and, understandably given a previous yellow, gets himself sent off. Roberto Firmino goes right back, because why not? The best way for Liverpool to see the game out is to kill it and Sadio Mane does just that. All over.
But even then. Jesus, Reds. Jesus. It was never meant to be this way. The entire crowd is punch drunk at this point.
Ninety plus five. Palace get one back.
But in Anfield, The Reds, both playing and non playing, don’t care, we’ve done it. Literally couldn’t give a shit then. What we give a shit about is three points. Not one point or no points, but three points. Our points.
When you really want something, and that thing is really worth having, you have to constantly want it, and be constantly working out how to get it. Sometimes it comes easy, and sometimes it’s hard, and sometimes, like today, the road is just crazy, a bit messed up, and all over the place. But the most important thing is to just work out a way, find a way through. Liverpool won the chaos today. Our heads may be swiss cheese, but they did it.
They did it at 0-1.
They did it at 2-2.
They did it at 3-2 down to 10.
They did it. They got it done. The final whistle sounds and while there are cheers there is this stillness, this peace absolute. That another challenge has been overcome, that we are three more closer to the promised land. A stillness that won’t end till they take to the pitch again, frozen.
I’m glad of the 10 days. Part of me feels like I played. But part of me wants to scream, shout and jump. Contrary to the song that plays in my head when I go to sleep and starts again when I wake, we may well eventually be moved. Anything is possible. But, by everything that is holy, we will take some moving. We will take some shifting. We are here until the bitter end.
We’ve made that crystal clear today. We’ve made you feel alive, the most alive, face red, arms wrapped around strangers, teeth gritted and grinding because if you want to stop us you will need to consist of nothing but that want. We need this more than want this. And we want it for all time.
Fifteen more. Grit your teeth, Reds. Fifteen more for the greatest thing you have ever seen.
Until then we are alive. The most.
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Well done with The Wichita Lineman! Up the Reds!
‘ We need this more than want this. And we want it for all time’
Loving the Wichita lineman line.
Think I might rather be up a line fixing telephone cables in the mid West than watching this title run. Not sure I’m taking it too well.
“Part of me feels like I played. But part of me wants to scream, shout and jump.”
Yes me too Neil.
Today was pure grit to win the game against this bogey side. Too many times we’ve watched and walked out heads down due to the inevitable.
We march on in 10 days time. We have a job to do against Leicester.
One game at a time.
Come on you Reds!!!
Took my young kids on the Anfield tour today before the game…they’re 14 and 11. I’m 47 and was brought up on the golden era of the 80’s. I tried to emplain to them the importance of getting our club back to winning ways, walking them past the photos of St. John , Heighway, Rush, Barnes, Souness holding trophies aloft! Then the tour guide stood up and gave a short speech, he said everything I wanted to say to my kids!! He said “it’s our responsibility to get behind our team and support them, make your voices heard, let them know we want this, after all we are Liverpool… we’re not waiting more than 29 years to win this, we want this now”. I love that man!! We didn’t let him down today! We march on together, up the beautiful magnificent reds! For the first time in my life my kids listened!
What we give a shit about is three points. Not one point or no points, but three points. Our points.
This. A Thousand Times This.
As always Neil. After so many years your capacity to encapsulate the core of a game, a campaign – so soon after a match astonishes me.
0-1 at halftime.
We needed chaos.
And fuck me. We brought the Rollercoaster and then some. This IS the most complete side we have had since 87/88. They can do it all. And they Believe.
Gini is 24 carat gold.
Up the Reds.
Yesterday’s game was madness returned with us once more creating chaos… trouble is some managed to create chaos at both ends in our ranks.
We had a make shift defence with one guy returning from injury and he’s 4th choice CB. We had Alisson deciding he can’t be bothered with saving anything. Let’s bail him out and say the cold got to him today. He did though manage to do a great impression of Migs.
Mane. – I felt like strangling him. Keeps trying to pass a ball through their players. Literally right through a solid object. Then when he can pass, should pass, has to pass he doesn’t and loses out. But I will forgive him for burying that one at the end.
Salah also kept running into trouble. This wasn’t his greatest game, yet he got 2 to his name.
As for Hendo. No pressure. Absolutely under no pressure, so what does he do??? Yep, he becomes Moreno. Why not. We’ve got Alisson being Migs so let’s go one better… He sends the worst of under hit passes to Milly, who on a yellow and with Zaha able to beat him to this. Only one outcome and the moment it left his boot you just knew. For that alone, Jordan needs a damn good kicking.
Keita… with him on the pitch you play with 10 men. You keep hoping he will do something, anything. It just not happening.
So by 4 vs 2 up and by this stage down to 10 men with one of those being Lallana, so now that’s 9 men and Migalisson in goal for us making this now 8 men and Camacho is again at RB, they scored their 3rd… madness and chaos that must be looked at long and hard. If we want to win the League we have to once more cut out the silly stuff that put us under pressure. We also need to play with a full compliment of 11 each game and not carry any passengers. We also need those coming off the bench to also do a job. Most of this we’ve had for the majority of the season, yesterday we got caught up in far too much silliness, all of our own making.
Finally, it might just be worth putting in a bid for Zaha (even if he did go to sleep when Milly ghosted in for our 3rd), they can borrow Keita or Lallana in return, the transfer window is still open. Likewise we should also consider bringing back Harry Wilson who scored another yesterday and got another assist, which you can’t see Keita or Lallana doing any time soon.
just a few wee exaggerations then!
Nah, just a few wee exaggerations would be that we defended well and controlled the game :D
Henderson was brilliant mate, think everyone pretty much agrees on this.
Bizarre game, the one we all knew could happen, except normally when it happens you don’t leave the ground with as many points. I’d like to call it resilience but really it just seemed more like the gods had decided we were going 7 clear again. In the end it was all too easy for us to sweep palace aside, but taking 8 minutes to do it threw us off balance again, not quite sure whether to stick or twist, and twisting ourselves in to trouble. I don’t admire Palace and Zaha for me is a player who will eventually arrive at another big clubs and again find he doesn’t have the mentality to make it there; he’s a top 8 player, not a top 2.
So anyway, there are no pictures on the league table, 3 points is 3 points and to come out with them yesterday does make me think someone up there is looking out for us
“I was born without you, baby, but my feelings were a little bit too strong. Just a little bit too strong.”
At 3-2, I was cold sweating the inevitable “Crystanbul 2” headlines that would come with an equalizer. We scored at the wrong time, I thought. There’s too much time left and three defensive fellas I’ve called at various points “unflappable” looked distinctly capable of being flapped.
Thank goodness we took the three points because that would have been the longest hiatus for out anxieties to fester. And lord don’t we love to fester our anxieties ’round these parts.
Every day the phrase “This Means More” – which originally seemed as daft as “We Come Not To Play” – makes more and more sense on several levels.
When we watch these lads solving problems in real time, we just might be witnessing the stuff of legend in real time. How often does a person get to say that?
Probably have to start doing a Shankly and clean the oven every game. It helps to keep busy when listening
Still not over it and we won. But, that’s really the only point after a game like this, we won, thank Christ.